l o v e . l i v e . t r a v e l. e a t. p r a i s e.
As it is now a year ago since I headed off to Europe all on my lonesome, I’ve been thinking about how much I miss that amazing journey I embarked on 12 months ago. For someone who doesn’t like being alone, and certainly does not enjoy change, it’s peculiar how much I love being submerged into the completely unfamiliar. I can feel more at home and part of a place I’ve never been to than in a room I’ve occupied countless times surrounded by friends and family. I don’t understand why, and maybe I never will.
But something about the strange and different lures me towards it. Something about heading off on that trip by myself, where I had nothing but myself, a crazy flight schedule, and multiple train trips with things that could (and did) go wrong, made me feel happy and alive.Some people ask me if I ever get scared when traveling by myself, and having to navigate uncharted waters alone. The answer is no. Winding through back lanes in Bali alone a few months ago, miles away from my hotel, I found it funny that I did not possess one inch of fear. In fact I felt more alive and peaceful than I have in a long time at home.Of course I don’t deliberately put myself in dangerous situations, and I am smart about the areas I travel to at certain times, but I don’t get scared about having to be in a different place. Being somewhere new where I didn’t have nostalgia tugging at my heart, or anyone to judge me, nor hurt me, I felt strangely confident and even excited to go explore new places, and do new things.
The thing is though, that’s not real life. Most people don’t live their lives in the unfamiliar, because after a while anything that was unfamiliar becomes the norm anyway. At some point I had to return to where I’d come from and head back to the place I call home, which too often makes me feel as though I’m being suffocated. While I don’t necessarily enjoy being on my own for long periods of time, when strolling around unknown places by myself, I always have lots if time to think. My most recent thought came to me when I was wondering why it felt like no one at home even cared that I was away. You and only you are in control of what, and who, you let make you feel worthless and insignificant. I only feel insignificant to my friends and the people at home when I let myself feel that way. If I paid it no mind and ignored those doubts and thoughts that constantly tug at me, it wouldn’t bother me.
Why do I feel like I’m suffocating when I’m home and alive when I’m away? Because me, myself and I let those things bother me. I suddenly realised that I am in control of it and I need to stop letting everyone make me feel like I don’t matter to them. Sometimes it’s true, but it’s probably mostly not true. It is harder now with social media constantly reminding us that person A likes everything posted by person B, and that person C is loving hanging out with person D. But we need to remember social media is only a controlled representation of someone’s life, displaying only the aspects they want everyone to see.
So when I have to be home rather than journeying through the new and unusual, I have to remember that I am in control. Today I choose not to feel worthless and insignificant. This in itself is a journey, but it’s a road I need to try and travel.